When it comes to protecting sensitive data, there may be no more important piece of tech than your router.

Because these devices transmit all the data that flows in and out of your home, including email and credit card information, routers have long been a favorite target for hackers.

In Symantec’s 2018 Internet Security Threat Report, routers were cited as the most frequently exploited device in IoT attacks.

Hackers can use malware or system architecture flaws to hide their identity, steal bandwidth, turn your devices into botnets, or worse.

To prevent this and other security problems, here are 4 easy tips you can take today to harden your router. We’ll cover advance changes in a future post.

Update Your Firmware

If your router has the latest updates, you’re much less likely to be infected .

Turn On Automatic Updates

To see whether this is an option for you, check the router’s companion app or look in settings.

Use Strong Passwords

Your password should have at least a dozen characters, with seemingly random upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid any words found in a dictionary.

Turn Off Features you don’t use

Remote Administration – turn this feature off if you don’t need it. This denies access to the router’s control panel from outside your home network.

Universal Plug-and-Play (UPaP)- Was intended as a convenience feature to help the router connect to devices. Having this feature enables can make it easier for malware to spread through your network.

Change the administrative credentials from the router’s default username and password. Hackers have files that contain default user name and password for almost every router made. Stop them in their tracks by making this change.

Change the network name, or SSID, from “Netgear,” “Linksys” or whatever the default is, to something unique — but don’t give it a name that identifies you.

Enable WPA2 wireless encryption so that only authorized users can hop on your network.